Baelnorn At Western Wars 17

As much as I advocate for LARP as a general hobby I don’t hide that fact I’m more or less an Amtgardian. The only other LARP I’ve gone to more than once is Belegarth and that just four times, now, five, with each time being a Western Wars. The first one was at Beacon Rock, and the fourth was at Silver Falls.

I was excited to find out that Western Wars 17 was going to be held at the Oregon 4H Center, only thirty minutes from where I live. That meant I was going to be able to make it each day rather than just day tripping once.

While I was excited I was also anxious. I had never gone to a Belegarth event with the intent to create online content. I wasn’t sure how it would be received. Luckily Gustav was going to be going with me, being able to go with someone else, someone else who knew people at the event, helped put my nerves at ease.

Fast forward to the night before the event. I got a message from Gustav saying he was sick and unable to go. My anxiety spiked to a ten, I was I was thinking about skipping the whole thing.

It took some time, but I managed to get control of my nerves. I reminded myself there would be other people there I knew, Kormac for one. In fact he was going to be there on Friday. So I said hell with it. If I’m going I might as well go Friday, so I headed out Friday evening to hangout with Kormac.

Friday Night Movie Time

I arrived around six, coincidentally the exact same time that my friend and fellow Amtgardian, Critias arrived. We went to gate/troll together to pay our site fees. On the way to get dressed in my garb I ran into Bhakdar, a Belegarth player I did know! I said hello, introduced him to Critias and chatted for a minute. Before heading back to my car.

Critias followed me and we chatted while I garbed up. It felt odd not wearing my knights belt, but I was more pleased than I probably should have been about having found my old gold and purple belt. I wore that belt from high school all the way till I was knighted in 2015. Some fifteen odd years.

After garbing up we went to the fighting field. I set up my chair and cracked a beer. Critias went onto the fighting field. It was fun to just watch the fighting for the evening.

Kormac was already there, fighting. Alistair also happened to be there by the time I arrived. It was nice seeing that British face. I hadn’t seen him since before the dark times but I had known he would be there. The person who I didn’t expect to see was Angus.

I hadn’t seen him since the Metzler Western Wars. He was an old friend from Amtgard. He had switched to Belegarth, some 10-15 years ago. It was great to see him. We even got to hangout, but that was mostly Sunday.

After the fighting we headed up to the hill to the Barn to watch some movies. One of the Belegarth players, who’s name escapes he, thought it would be fun to do a movie marathon. They brought a sound system, a projector and a grip of movies to show off.

I spent the rest of the night hanging out in the Barn. The first movie, Dragonslayer, a classic fantasy movie, was one I had never seen. It was definitely a product of it’s age, but it had a charm to it that I didn’t expect. Worth watching if you’re a fantasy fan. Critias left after the first movie.

I stayed for one more movie, Dragonheart, one of my favorite fantasy movies from my childhood. After Kormac gave me a ride back down the hill I headed home, getting home around 1am. It was a lowkey evening and I enjoyed myself, but I really only hung out with people I knew, staying firmly in my comfort zone.

Saturday, Fight Day

I went into Saturday knowing that if I was going to get content for YouTube and TikTok, it would probably be Saturday. That was going to be the day that most of the Amtgardians I knew were going to be making it to Western Wars.

My time on Friday did put me somewhat at ease concerning the event, However I was still anxious about recording at Western Wars. Unlike Amtgard, I’m not generally known in Belegarth, I don’t have the same sort of anxiety around recording people in the community I know well.

In fact I spent the first hour or two watching the fighting and talking to the visiting Amtgardians. I kept making excuses for why I wasn’t recording, Kalzar was being a good friend and giving me some gentle encouragement to record the fighting. That was greatly apricated, but it wasn’t enough. Eventually I went and got my lunch from Kormac’s cooler.

On my way back to my chair I stopped by a Belegarth player. They wanted to make a point to introduce themselves to me. I’m terrible with names but I believe his name was Tristian. Apparently he watched my content and wanted to take the chance to say hi and meet me in person. I was pleasantly surprised.

That encounter helped me battle my anxiety and after I finished eating my lunch I was ready to get some video. My first priority was getting some TikToks. It took some time to adjust to recording such a different group of people.

While the game was just line fighting, basically a ditch, how people worked together was different. In an Amtgard ditch, while some employ group tactics, it’s much more one on one fights. Belegarth fighters tended to break into smaller tactical groups.

Because of this there was more movement and the fights spread out more than they typically do in Amtgard. While this was more engaging to watch, it’s harder to coherently record. At least with how I generally like to present my content.

After about twenty minutes or so I figured I had enough for my TikToks and I switched to recording content for YouTube. I didn’t get as much group battles as I intended to.

I had put a poll on my YouTube Channel asking if people wanted more group content or more one on one fights. I had a lot more engagement than I expected, but in the end the votes were evenly split between the two. My goal was to get a good amount of both content, but I ended up getting a lot more one on one content than group fighting.

I took a break from recording, intending to go back to the field after resting my arm for a bit, but it was not to be. The one thing I did set up before I arrived, a fight between Bhakdar and Critias, was about to go down and I would be damned if I wasn’t going to record it. I’m glad I did, It was a high octane fight. Two good fighters ramping it up. I’m very glad I had that on lock.

Then right after that recording a small bearpit started in the same area. It had some top tier fighters in such As Alexi, Spicy and Critias. It would have been dumb if I didn’t take the chance to record that.

It started off with some single sword, but after about half an hour everyone switched to sword and shield. All in all, I got an hour of additional one on one fights. It was a lot of good content!

Eventually my arm got tired, I stopped recording and the bearpit died out. There was still fighting on the field, but I needed to take a break. My are was getting a bit sore. That ended up being the last of the content I got for the day.

As the fighting died down and people filtered away, the Amtgardians who were there got together to take a group photo (the picture at the top of the blog). Along with some Oregon Amtgardians there was also a Texas Amtgardian, Spicy. After the photo we all sat around on the grass visiting.

Eventually all the Amtgardians left, all but Critias, Kormac and Sploob. Kormac went off and had his own adventures, as he does. He hung out at the beer pong area while we went up to the dance.

Sploob first got dressed in his mushroom wizard get up, or his Sporlock costume as he likes to call it. The dance was fun, everyone seemed to be having a blast. We mostly hung out on the deck, as did many other people. Sploob was getting into the grove of things. He was casting dance spells with his mushroom staff while Critias loosened up and started moving a bit to the music.

At one point Sploob was approached and asked to patriciate in the costume contest. He made a wonderfully terrible dad joke about being a fun guy, and got some good groans. He didn’t win, but he made a good showing of it.

After the contest we made our way back down to the beer pong area. Kormac was still having a good old time. We spent the rest of our night there but eventually us day trippers got tired and we went home.

An Unexpected Belegarth Adventure

When I got up and found out that Sploob and Critias were not going to be coming back to site Sunday I was a little disheartened. Not so much that I wasn’t going to go to the site though. Given both Amtgardians who were camping, Alistair and Kormac, were leaving Sunday, I figured Sunday would end up being an earlier day for me than Friday and Saturday.

When I got to the site Alistair had already left and Kormac had packed up, although he was still fighting . He planned to leave later in the afternoon but not before he made a point to get me to record a versus video. He had wanted to be in one of my one on one fight videos for a while now. It just hadn’t worked out yet.

He wasn’t sure who he was going to fight, but he wanted to fight someone on video. However he was having some reluctance in asking people. It was comforting to know that even Kormac, who had just last night been out there having a good time, meeting new people, had some amount of social anxiety about asking someone to join him in a fighting video.

Eventually he worked up the courage to ask someone This person was Slate. Kormac had met him the night before. He also happened to be the dope armor guy of the event.

Dope Armor Guy, Slate

They decided to battle it out in armor, making this the first versus video I reordered where the participants used armor. It turned out great and I can’t wait to share it. It was another high performance fight but after we were done, Kormac left.

I was the last Amtgardian standing.

The fighting had died down at this point and I was thinking of leaving as well, but first I wanted to find Angus and say good bye. I intended to crack open one beer, chat with him for a half and hour or so and then head out. That was around 3pm. I didn’t end up getting home till midnight.

One beer turned into two, then three, then we were out. We went on a mission to find a few more. Eventually we made our way to the top of the hill. I spent the night hanging out with Angus, his partner Aroura and Ryan (I don’t know if he has a game name).

I casually talked to a few Belegarth people, with Bhakdar being one of them. I mostly hung out in the background, listening to everyone having a fun time, just vibing. From what I gathered for many people this was their first event back after the pandemic. It certainly was the first Western Wars since the before times.

I guess my one regret for Sunday was that I didn’t engage with more people in conversation. However, given that my anxiety was fairly high all weekend I’m fairly happy with the fact I stayed and hung out for several hours beyond what I expected to do.

Eventually I sobered up and headed home.

Wrap Up

All in all it was a fairly good event. I think the event runners did a good job. The only complaint I heard amongst attendees was that they didn’t like that the group was split between the field and the top of the hill. They also recognized that was a site issue, not an event runner issue.

It was a different event than an Amtgard event, it was less busy. They had classes for non-fighters, but for the fighting it was mostly just ditches. Kormac did run a scenery game for them though.

Unlike Amtgard there wasn’t any event meals, but they did plan fun night activities so there was still community events. Some, like the dance was planned by the event, while others, like the beer pong was planned by the attendees.

I feel much better about recording in Belegarth now and I look forward to getting more Belegarth content. I plan on making at least one trip up to Pyke this summer to meet people in a smaller setting and get some more Belegarth content.

Western Wars Content

So what did I get? I got about a weeks worth of TikToks, half an hour of a single sword bearpit, a half an hour of a sword and shield bearpit, 16 minutes of ditching and two ten minute versus videos.

The TikToks will start rolling out today (5/31/2023). They will be released one a day till they are all gone, I have more than a weeks worth, but I’m not sure how many as I haven’t finished editing them

The bearpits will probably be broken up into ten minute videos. They may not start coming out for a month or two. I have about two months worth of videos already scheduled. I’m considering releasing an extra video here and there to get some Western Wars content on my channel sooner.

As for the two versus videos, it could also be some time before they are published. I might bump some of my non-Western Wars videos back so that the versus videos come out sooner, but I have not yet decided.

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    • Nick Kornafel on May 31, 2023 at 8:17 pm
    • Reply

    great article

    1. Thank you! I appreciate you reading it!

  1. Love the content!

    1. Thank you, I appreciate that! I like to hear when people are enjoying the content!

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